Step instability and island formation during annealing of pseudomorphic InGaAs/GaAs layers

Riposan, A.; Martin, G. K. M.; Millunchick, J. Mirecki
December 2003
Applied Physics Letters;12/1/2003, Vol. 83 Issue 22, p4518
Academic Journal
The morphological stability of compressively strained In[sub 0.27]Ga[sub 0.73]As/GaAs pseudomorphic layers has been investigated during annealing. Large three-dimensional islands form at the beginning of annealing on initially flat surfaces, likely to relieve strain energy. The islands disappear with increasing annealing, being reabsorbed into the terraces. At the same time, the step line destabilizes forming cusps that inject two-dimensional vacancy islands into the terrace. At high temperatures, this process leads to a severe deterioration of the morphology that is not due to decomposition. The island dissolution and the development of the step instability are likely alternative paths towards the reduction of surface energy. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.


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